Changing CRM Entity Names – A Shortcut

In the CRM Customization class I teach there is a chapter about changing entity names. Perhaps your company doesn’t like the term ‘Account’ and you’d prefer to use ‘Company’ instead. The sales pitches for CRM often show how easy it is to change the name. Simply go into the Entity Editor for the entity and change it. Unfortunately, as the course chapter describes, it’s not really that simple. The entity name is used in many places: on the form, views, reports, other entities, messages, and so on. The name should be changed on each of these for consistency. You don’t want to refer to Company one place and Account elsewhere. It can be confusing. I generally impress upon my students that changing an entity name can be a tedious process if you want to do a thorough job of it.

In the same chapter is a discussion of how to translate customizations you may have made to CRM to another language if you have a language pack installed. The process is to use the Export Labels for Translation, manually update the file in Excel to add the proper strings in the added language(s) for your customizations, and then Import Labels for Translation the modified file.

In my last class a bright student asked whether this translation process couldn’t be used to help do global changes for entity names. I didn’t know. Hadn’t thought of it. So I gave it a try.

First I had to install a Multilingual User Interface (MUI) language pack. These are free to download from Microsoft. The Export Labels for Translation process won’t export without at least one language pack. Then I changed the name of an Entity (Account to Company), published,  and exported the labels for translation. I opened the resultant export file, unprotected it so I could modify it, then did a global Find and Replace. I had to do several of these, one for Account to Company, Accounts to Companies, account to company, & accounts to companies. Care must be taken not to change the ‘Display String Key’ column as this will stop the import. I then imported the file and it worked! This process changed Account to Company (etc.) pretty much everywhere.

Now, don’t tell your boss about this shortcut. If he wants an entity name changed, show him how much work in entails, using the normal method, then use this shortcut and go home early.